Universal Access To All Knowledge
Home Donate | Store | Blog | FAQ | Jobs | Volunteer Positions | Contact | Bios | Forums | Projects | Terms, Privacy, & Copyright
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload

Reply to this post | See parent post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 3, 2010 6:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

BS: yep, we have covered that one a great deal, and I am sure there are any number of addt'l threads on "vocal era pref's"...

Seems most folks like 70; I think the boys have discussed themselves (intereviews and such) that they really were practicing a great deal then, and had gotten an almost CSN&Y esque three part harmony down in the studio, that sometimes carried over to acoustic sets, and semi-electric sets as well (eg, TLMDown, CJord, others sprinkled thru 1970 shows). I like Hunter's description of Jerry's voice as "true americana", though he notes others term it "reedy" and "narrow" range wise.

The blue grass folks that I have been gathering acoustic sets for to provide possible song material for have commented repeatedly on how good his voice was for that genre, consistent with the comments in the "banjo thread" the other day...I think that Jerry's voice indeed was perfect for blue grass, gospel, and the "americana/folkrock" (whatever we call AmBeauty and Workingman's) styles, as well as the more esoteric/eccentric "SF sound" of LiveDead (StSt is certainly a unique song that he does very well, IMHO).

Now, as many have said, it is only natural that between smoking (Bob and Jerry), by 80 there was a decline...Phil of course stopped singing altogether because, as he stated, he could no longer maintain the high end. My read of the 78-80 period might indeed be that Jerlouvis has a point: technically speaking Jer and Bob might have been having to rely on "technique" to allow singing songs they simply didn't have the range for after all the abuse and illnesses, but that's something for a singer/musically inclined sort to analyze.

I do think that having spent a great deal of time listening to the 80s shows and 70s shows, acoustic only (at the time, I was still going), I always thought it was absolutely a slam dunk that Jer and Bob did NOT have the range in 80 they had in 70.

Is it really the case that some think otherwise? Maybe they've heard nights I missed or some such, but I just don't hear it (didn't hear it, it's been years since I got into 80).

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: billydlions Date: Jan 3, 2010 8:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Hey Tell, I guess most people like the youthful sound of Jerry's voice circa 1970? Putting the harmonies aside (and since the question was specifically related to Jerry's singing) I'm going to say that I preferred the sound of his voice in 1977 when I though it had a more mature sound, yet still not effected by the problems Cliff accurately pointed out in 1978, and then the total decline which I believe really started in 1983. I think it's again no different than arguing which eras we like better- it's all personal preference. I'm not saying his voice was better, had more range (which he clearly didnt), just that to my ears I liked a little more roughness to his singing, which I think added to the ballads that he sang. As for 1978, he clearly had changed his style and his way of enunciating, which I am not sure why, nor do I believe made him a better singer.

By the way, last week I was listening to 5-2-70 which I just recd, and my 14 yr old daughter, who is used to me listening to my usual era (1977-1982), commented that she hated the singing! In fact, she didnt even realize it was the GD and went out of her way to say she didnt like the singing as compared to what she's heard before. I told her this was the sound of the early years which I guess she wasn't used to hearing.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 3, 2010 9:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Yeah, I can see that--the maturity factor, and in spite of my commentary always sounding so biased toward "early in anything is always better", it could defn be a plus (ie, that someone does sound better vocally in their 30s or 40s say).

Clearly he could still sound good, maybe even better going with the maturity factor, in the late 70s and maybe even 80s: some of the songs from the studio show that, right? Like Althea and such...

I always think that the studio, when they could take it easy, retake, practice, etc., etc., is the real indicator, and there you do have some decent output from Jerry in late 70s and 80s.

I guess though that the touring was more and more taxing, and he just couldn't keep it up in those last couple of yrs I was seeing him (79-82) due to the problems outlined above. But, as you and Jlouey point out, if given the time and rest, he could still sound great.

So, in the "best of all conditions" scenario, as you properly note, it would be "do you like young Jerry" or "do you like mature Jerry" and be just preference.

That's one reason these discussions always get off on the "wrong track" in that I may see the question, ignore the "best case" and just think "hmmm, take five early era acoustic sets against five tour nights I saw in 82, and it's a no brainer" or whatever...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Tommytrippledip Date: Jan 3, 2010 11:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

I was just reading a Bob Weir interview from 1977 the other day. At one point they discussed singing. Bob was saying that the reason Phil had stopped singing was that he had permanently hurt his vocal cords by singing incorrectly and that he would need an operation if he ever wanted to sing again.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 3, 2010 12:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Was discussing the other day how some folks didn't think Phil was the voice on EMRain, and such as he sounded so different to them...he clearly was working hard to get harmonies "right" on the Eleven, and others, in those early era songs...he didn't have a "naturally good" voice (I've heard it said, and guess we'd all agree it was nice on Box, and a few others, but overall not a great singer), and so wouldn't surprise me he had to work hard (and perhaps "incorrectly" whatever that means) at it.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jan 3, 2010 12:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Let us not forget that he took some of the Box of Rain magic out of the studio an on to the stage on this night.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-10-04.fm.glassberg_winters.28363.sbeok.shnf

This is still the best show that I have heard with respect to Phil's vocals. Of course his playing and for that matter everybody's playing is also excellent this night.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 3, 2010 2:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Yep! Big time...as we discussed previously, this has the just fantastic UJB, which I use whenever compiling for friends as the "electric" version...Phil's bass as they lead up to the final round of vocals is just DRIVING and so perfectly suited to the moment! And, even the oddly upbeat TTMComes shows him in fine vocal form...love being able to hear him and Bob, with Jerry sounding "distant" almost an echo, that blends perfectly. Jerry's tone on guitar is also outstanding, and just because of personal preference, with the guitar work (wah), I love this SugMag the best...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: vapors Date: Jan 3, 2010 3:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Ten Four good buddies.
Really marvelous rendering of Uncle John’s.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jan 3, 2010 4:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

So to tie it in with thread above, this show did occur the day that Janis Joplin died. There is some debate as to whether the band knew of this sad new from SoCal. Given how upbeat this show is, I really have troubles believing they could have known.

This post was modified by elbow1126 on 2010-01-04 00:42:50

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snori Date: Jan 4, 2010 3:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

This was the first Dead bootleg I ever bought, and probably the best. It is a transparent blue disc with a pig logo and 'Trademark of quality' printed on the label.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 4, 2010 3:45pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Ha--that was the "brand" for my 7-2-71 purchase; the 10-4 one was "Mammary Productions" which I assumed was different.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Diamondhead Date: Jan 3, 2010 11:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Bob smoked? I though he was the veggie purist of the group. Now that's the reason I come to the Archive - tidbits like this. I've always thought his singing devolved into yelling because he screamed so much at the end of the NFAs, Lovelights, etc.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Jan 4, 2010 1:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Yeah, weird right? Someone once posted some video from the Built to Last sessions where Bob was smoking. I had the same reaction. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising.

Just stumbled upon that video: http://www.vimeo.com/5400206

This post was modified by snow_and_rain on 2010-01-04 21:57:35

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Jan 3, 2010 11:12am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Jerry vocals 78'

Yep, it is a bit of a contradiction, isn't it? There have even been attempts to hide/subvert/mask it, I am relatively confident (ie, on his part). And, he has tried to quit as well...

But, we had some extended thread about it a while back, with lots of folks weighing in, and it seems he has smoked most of his career, but just didn't do it "in public" to the degree Jerry did...

Like you, I thought he changed his style purposefully, and certainly Phil and Jerry did talk about thinking he lost it because of his antics with yells (why didn't Donna, eh? Damn...) or at least they said as much in a few early 70s interviews we discussed here.

Terms of Use (10 Mar 2001)